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The Gift of Books

Generally speaking, wine lovers enjoy receiving two things for Christmas: gadgets and books.

Books are knowledge, and that is what we crave most. Here are several books published this year, any of which would make a superb gift for the wine lover on your Christmas list.

Extreme Wine, $25: Mike Veseth, a retired University of Puget Sound economics professor, follows up his popular “Wine Wars” (2011), with this look at “the best, the worst, the outrageously cheap, the insanely overpriced and the undiscovered” wines. Veseth writes The Wine Economist blog.

Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert, $20: This is my candidate for the most original and enjoyable book of the year. Master sommelier Richard Betts put together this book that not only explains wine, but also provides the aromas for you to try out. A perfect book for every wine lover — from novice to snob.

Celebrity Vineyards, $35: If you are curious about wineries owned by people who are famous for reasons other than wine, writer Nick Wise provides insights. He travels the world to explore wines made by Hollywood types (Francis Ford Coppola, Dan Aykroyd, Fess Parker), the world of sports (Dick Vermeil, Mario Andretti, Wayne Gretzky) and the music scene (composer Ludovico Einaudi, Doobie Brothers manager Bruce Cohn).

Uncorked, the Science of Champagne, $25: Author Gerard Liger-Belair, a physics professor at the University of Reims, explores the science behind the world’s most famous bubbly. He also dives into the myths and truths about sparkling wine, as well as its history and technology.

Pinot Envy, $22: Canadian wine writer Edward Finstein (The Wine Doctor) has penned an enjoyable yarn about a stolen bottle of famous Burgundy. The story is set in California’s Napa Valley and Bay Area. Those who enjoy Nadia Gordon’s Sunny McCoskey mysteries (“Death by the Glass,” “Sharp Shooter,” “Murder Alfresco” and “Lethal Vintage”) will likely get a kick out of Finstein’s book, too.

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